Monday, January 02, 2017

WE WERE COMPLETELY WRONG ABOUT FAT AND EVERYTHING ELSE BUT WE'RE RIGHT THAT SUGAR IS THE DEVIL

6 Comments:

Blogger Pete Mack said...

Yes it's a silly lifestyle article. But the underlying topic is real. It's been known since the 1990s that
1. Eating too much sugar encourages bacterial infection
2. Sugar does not promote a feeling of satiety; fat does.
3. Excess sugar, simple carbs, and alcohol are the leading causes of obesity today. All contribute to type II diabetes.
4. In the 1960s and 1970s, sugar industry subverted diet research systematically.

10:28 PM  
Blogger The Mystic said...

Yeah, I don't really understand your position on this one, WS.

If you don't think the easiest way to get fat and stay fat is to drink sodas and sugary drinks, you don't pay much attention to your overweight friends.

But I don't really know what you disagree with here, so there's that. Last time we talked about this, I seem to recall an unwillingness to believe sugar(y drinks in particular) are really that bad for you, but rather that people are waging a class war against poor soda lovers.

But it takes approximately zero effort to understand that a large soda comprises about 350 calories that add zero nutritive value beyond energy to burn or convert to fat. When doing nothing but sitting on one's ass, that gets converted to fat.

Literally every single overweight person I have known in my life drinks soda or sweet tea. It is by far the easiest and most effective way to continually ingest calories you don't need.

That would be the core of any sane argument about sugar. Do you disagree with that, or is there something else in this article I didn't read? =)

Plus, your argument here is like a boilerplate template for disagreeing with science. Just insert different values for "fat" and "sugar" and you can argue against climate change or the heliocentric model or...

5:39 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

I'll admit that I'm exercising a lot of discretion in calling BS on this stuff--but I'm incredulous that you guys would accept those arguments.

PM:
1 isn't relevant, 2 isn't true, 3 begs the question, and 4, depending on the details, is pretty much SOP for such industries...but perhaps It's worse than I know.

M:
The plural of 'anecdote' is not 'data'. And, for the record, I've known really skinny people (myself included) who drank a lot of soda (though I've basically lost my taste for it), and skinny people who wouldn't touch the stuff, and overweight people who wouldn't, and overweight people who chug it. So, at least speaking for myself, anecdotes don't help.

And "nutritive value beyond energy" is not relevant. We're not talking about vitamins and so forth--we are only talking about calories. That's the only thing that's relevant.

Yeah, you can go too far with the pessimistic meta-induction...but that's not all that's going on here. Nutrition "science" is sometimes scientific, but a whole lot of it isn't. We're not talking about high-energy physics here. We're talking about a highly-politicized area of study in which statistical train wrecks are the norm.

The "soda wars" are, in fact, so vitriolic that graduate students in nutrition are often advised not to study that stuff, and sometimes refuse to even say anything about it for fear of being blackballed.

Yeah, industry has been bad...but on the other side of the equation, you have politically-motivated crusaders who play fast and loose with the facts, and who made their minds up first and then set out to manufacture a case against soda--e.g. the inaptly-named "Center for Science in the Public Interest."

The point being: this isn't a generic point about science: this is a point about a field of study that has proven itself--scientifically!--to be mostly unscientific.

As for my adjunct hypothesis about the link between upper-middlebrow taste and so forth--that doesn't play much of a role in the argument. I merely note that it's kinda funny that nutrition "science" seems to hop to most smartly when their favored demographic likes or doesn't like something. Remember when red wine (or perhaps even a nice, oakey chardonnay...), dark chocolate, and coffee were all good for you? And terrible, terrible fat was what made you fat? (The worst thing you can be, according to the favored demographic.) Pasta was the thing! And yogurt! Meat was *gauche* (the worst thing *food* can be, according to etc.) Now it's soda...

Finally, we again, with carbs/sugar, have the earmarks of nutrition pseudoscience: one single thing, the nutritional magic bullet, that has caused all our problems... And a really bad sign, imo: the absolutely ludicrous attempt to prove that *even diet soda* (even gaucher...but no sugar...) is *just as bad for you or worse than real soda*...

Some day they're likely to get it right, I suppose...

And I certainly can't prove that it's all bullshit.

But I'm saying: my educated guess is: bullshit.

More of the same that we've seen before. It's settled science! Well...settled pseudoscience, anyway...

8:38 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

LOL sorry, guys. I got all polemical there.

Needless to say, you're both on firmer ground in more ways than I am.

8:39 AM  
Blogger The Mystic said...

So, you accept that drinking soda is an easy way to add lots of calories to one's diet...yes?

The only additional point would be that this is a common means of doing so among the overweight population...

Data like... this?

http://www.businessinsider.com/bloombergs-nyc-soda-ban-obesity-effects-2013-3

I'm not saying soda is the cause of obesity. I'm not saying drinking a reasonable amount of soda is going to make you obese. I'm simply pointing out that, in most cases, it's pretty hard to eat enough to be obese. Soda is a very effective way to make that a hell of a lot easier.

This is my point. I just can't figure out what objection there could be to it.

9:06 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Um...are you serious about that article?

I feel like I should give you an opportunity to say that you were kidding.

Is soda an "easy way to add lots of calories"? Well, first, that wasn't what we were really discussing, was it? Weren't we discussing whether or not sugar, in general, is the devil?

Not sure.

But anyway, as for Soda:
Is it an "easy way" to add calories?
I dunno...compared to what? 150 calories in a can of coke compared to 215 in a Snickers bar...250 in a bagel...300 in a package of 2 granola bars... 550 in a Big Mac..

I guess you could say that soda is a kind of add-on, but:
I admit, it's intuitively plausible that soda is a big contributor to obesity...but intuitive plausibility doesn't count for much. Lots of things are intuitively plausible in this vicinity. Good studies--not shitty studies from Barry Popkin or some shit--seem to show that when you drink n calories in a soda, you tend to consume n fewer calories elsewhere.

So it may be easy to add on soda calories, but we tend to compensate for them in the same way we "compensate" for consuming *any* calorie--by consuming fewer later.

Which is to say: *soda calories are not magical. They act like all other calories.*

9:33 PM  

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